Nothing could be simpler than growing ginger in Virginia.
It’s almost true.
Just dug baby ginger in the fall
Ginger is reasonably ornamental – a reed-like plant with clear green leaves. While it can be grown in the vegetable or herb garden, it is not out of place with ornamental plants – provided you can dig them out easily enough — without damaging bulbs or perennials. Don’t plant them with daffodils!
A small clump of ginger growing with other tropicals and annuals
So yes, it is tropical – but that not necessarily a reason not to grow it. We grow many other plants from the tropics and treat them like annuals. You can do the same with ginger.
I have grown it for years in my garden – small yield but it was mine! Ginger requires a long frost-free growing season — about one year for mature ginger, 8 months for baby ginger. That’s more than our climate allows… except that you can start ginger indoors. farmers do it in high tunnels (aka hoophouses). I start it my greenhouse, but a very sunny window or sun room will work. With a warm early start in late winter, appropriate temperatures at all times, abundant water, and judicious shade, you can grow ginger to a harvestable size. Read more
There is no season for ice-cream. Or rather I should say: it is always the season for ice-cream. And in winter we make ice-cream from frozen fruit (poached and pureed, and then mixed into the ice-cream base) or more often using spices.
Ginger ice-cream is a favorite of mine. No surprise there for those who read this blog, even occasionally. My liberal use of ginger is after all rooted in childhood. The ice-cream gets a double dose of ginger: first the cream is infused with fresh ginger (which will also color it a pale yellow), and then chopped crystallized ginger is folded into the finished ice-cream. Good by itself or in combination with sautéed or baked fruit.
Fresh ginger by the way is a model spice to keep around – it will remain fresh for weeks. Choose plump firm roots at the market. Don’t buy a small knob because that’s only what you need for a dish. Buy a big whole healthy root. Don’t keep it in the fridge where it will not only shrivel but mold (yuk!). Break off what you need when you need it. If your root is drying out too fast (sometimes it happens no matter what you do), you can salvage what you have by pickling it (slices or chunks in vinegar or vodka), or by grating it and freezing it (my preferred way). Read more